Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Fine Dining At The Community Center

Somehow or another over the years I've gotten involved with too many civic associations and appointed or elected to too many boards, plus I belong to the South Florida Fishing Club. Come December I get invited to too many parties, luncheons, and dinners. Some of them mean Free Food (hooray!) while others mean paying too damned much for what gets served, but there's no getting out of going, it seems.

I tried to resign from several boards years ago but got talked into staying on. Finally, when my mom died a dozen or so years ago, BINGO!, that was the excuse I needed and I resigned from EVERYTHING! Then little by little...well, I'm back.

Which party is this? Frankly I'm not sure. I didn't keep notes on all of the rolls of film I shot, but I'm pretty sure it was at one of the community centers here in North Miami, with the wall decorations done by local school kids.

When I was a kid it was just Christmas time and everything reflected the Christmas theme. Us Jewish kids felt left out. Gradually our country embraced a broader Judeo-Christian way of celebrating the winter solstice, and a huge Hanukah menorah now sits next to the giant Christmas tree outside of city hall. We still ignore the holidays celebrated by all the other religions at this time of year. It's like Hindus, Muslims, and Bhudists don't exist, yet for several years my Muslim friend and fellow photographer Mike Rifai and I photographed the Diwhalli (new year) festival at the Hindu temple together.

What I find really strange about the way we celebrate Christmas is the western European spin on everything, the traditions that originated centuries before Christianity took root there, likely eons before Jesus was even born. Things like yule logs, mistletoe, the "Christmas" tree itself. Both are ever green all through the snowy frigid winter. All of pagan origin, now incorporated into the season's trappings. Anyway, the food was good, I renewed some old friendships and met some new people. It feels like it's going to be a good year! And of course Dawn will soon be Mrs. Kaplan so our house will look like Christmas come December.


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